Tires are probably one of the most abused yet most reliable parts of your automobile, but did you ever consider that tire failure can result in a serious accident. Staying in control of a vehicle with a blown tire can be a test of driving skill, especially in a rear-tire blowout. Avoiding a blowout is sometimes impossible, but careful maintenance and observation of safe practices can lower your chance of dire consequences from a catastrophic tire event.
If you suffer a tire failure on the highway:
- Keep driving as straight as possible
- Do not rapidly or suddenly apply the brakes
- Wait until your car slows down to below 30 mph before gently steering toward a safe stopping place
- Don’t let the sound of the tire blowing out startle you. It can sound like a bomb, especially a blowout at high speeds.
The best way to avoid tire failure is taking proper care of your tires. Make sure you maintain proper tire inflation. Don’t rely on tire pressure monitoring systems installed on many newer vehicles. Some of these systems fail to alert you to low tire pressure until the pressure is dangerously low. Properly maintained tires improve the steering, stopping, traction and load-carrying capability of your vehicle. Another benefit of properly maintaining your tire pressure is increased fuel economy.
Located on the vehicle’s door post, door frame, glove box or inside the trunk lid, are placards placed by the manufacturer listing recommendations for tire size, inflation pressure, vehicle capacity weight and axle weight ratings. This information can also be found in the vehicle owner’s manual. Tire inflation pressures are also found on the side of the tire. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has information detailing what the number and letter designations on the side of your tire actually mean.
A tire gauge costs less than $2. If you don’t already have a gauge, you might consider buying one and checking your tire pressure every so often when you’re filling up at the gas station. It’s quick and easy, and may save your life.